Animal-assisted therapy uses an animal’s healing powers to provide treatment and rehabilitation to patients with acute or chronic illnesses. This therapy may include physical, mental, emotional, and social programs that promote healing with animals.
Also, people undergoing recovery from addiction can find human to animal bond very beneficial during the recovery process. The lively and mutually useful relationship between therapy animals and patients creates a positive impact on the overall health and wellbeing of the recovering addicts.
Animals Involved in Addiction Therapy
Dogs and horses are the most popular animals available for animal-assisted therapy. Other animals such as cats, birds, dolphins, rabbits, and guinea pigs may also provide benefits for this treatment.
Besides, there is no particular research that compares the usefulness of different animals for people struggling with addiction and substance use disorders. However, researchers believe that most therapy animals are equally helpful in professional training.
How Animal-assisted Therapy Helps Recovering Addicts
People struggling with drugs and alcohol addictions experience different mental, physical, and emotional challenges. The reason being their brain chemicals and receptors have adapted to regular stimulation with drugs and alcohol. However, animal-assisted therapy is the safest and natural method of stimulating brain chemicals and pleasure receptors to normal functioning.
Usually, this therapy involves specially trained rehab professionals or healthcare providers who supervise therapy animals among people. They incorporate activities such as social skills, motivation, cognitive behaviors, and other addiction treatment goals to accelerate the recovery process.
Also, the animals involved accelerate the recovery process by encouraging addicts to acquire healthy relationships and become accountable for someone besides themselves.
Additionally, people undergoing animal-assisted therapy should understand that it is not stand-alone addiction treatment. It is because it can’t substitute evidence-based treatment programs such as counseling or detox.
Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy
When a recovering addict interacts with an animal under the supervision of a professional provider, their bonds become more robust. A healthy functioning relationship between the provider and the patient is an excellent forecaster of positive results. The reason is the animal involved helps the patient become mindful and overcome emotional dysregulation.
Additionally, researchers indicate that animal-assisted therapy improves mood, communication skills, and self-assurance. All these factors are crucial for boosting the recovery from drugs and substance abuse.
Also, animal therapy benefits people experiencing co-occurring mental health disorders such as PTSD.
Additional evidence also indicates animal-assisted therapy enhances addiction recovery achievement while increasing patients’ chances of completing an addiction treatment program.
Animal therapy reduces stress, and researchers believe that their activities can benefit patients with substance use disorders.
Where to Find Animal-assisted Therapy for Addiction
Currently, there are many rehabilitation facilities and healthcare providers around the country that provide animal-assisted therapy. These rehab centers incorporate this therapy with other addiction recovery programs for the best addiction recovery results.
If you want to know whether this therapy can benefit your mental conditions, addiction, and substance abuse needs, kindly check a rehab center near you. Don’t forget to ask and compare the best options that will address your needs.